Gov. Mark Gordon and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., suggested this past week that they would push back against the Biden-Harris administration.
Gordon, in an abbreviated “state of the state” address Tuesday, during the first meeting of the 66th Wyoming Legislature, took a combative stance regarding the Biden transition team’s position on energy and regulation, but did not promise any direct action.
“There is good reason to be concerned that the actions of the next administration will further dampen the economic outlooks for energy and mining here in Wyoming,” he said. “The signals being sent during the transition period indicate that the substantial progress we’ve made to reduce obstructionist, counterproductive regulation could be in peril.”
While the Trump administration has worked to speed up environmental reviews and permitting for pipelines, highways and other such projects through the National Environmental Policy Act, the Biden administration will likely pivot.
The new administration is expected to place more emphasis on addressing the impacts of pollution from refineries, highways and factories on poor and minority populations, according to Bloomberg News. Brenda Mallory, Biden’s pick to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, which oversees NEPA, has criticized the regulatory rollback.
“NEPA was not intended to be a process for rubber-stamping government decisions,” she wrote in a 2019 blog post for the American College of Environmental Lawyers. “We should not allow NEPA’s ultimate goals to be subverted by false claims for good government.”
Biden also intends to ban new permits for oil and gas projects on federal land and water, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gordon said that he was “hopeful the next administration would recognize that energy independence and domestic production of vital resources are central to our nation’s security and prosperity.” He said he had begun to approach the Biden team on carbon capture utilization and sequestration.
“We will always defend our state and protect her interests, through every legal, political, business and technology option we have available to us,” Gordon said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Cheney, in a press conference Wednesday following her vote to impeach President Trump, said she would work to provide an “alternative” to the Biden-Harris administration. Her goal, she said, is to prevent “massive government overreach” and “stand up for those things that matter to us in Wyoming.”
“We will very much be focused on policy and on laying out an agenda and a positive agenda for the future,” she said. “It’ll be one that will allow us to win the majority back.”
There are 222 Democrats, 211 Republicans and two vacancies in the U.S. House of Representatives. The next elections for the House are in 2022.